It's that time of the season where deep sleeper picks have suddenly emerged as viable fantasy options. Did you ever think you'd consider Jacksonville running back/wide receiver Denard Robinson as a viable starting option over Toby Gerhart? You're lying if you said you did! And there are many more players like Robinson who are now being thrust into starting roles. A couple of those sleepers are even listed here.
To balance these Sit 'Em/Start 'Em articles, we'll mix and match Pro Bowl caliber players with some sleepers. The point of listing obvious starters is to help you not over think matchups. For example, a question like this should never arise: I have Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler on my team. Should I start Hoyer over Cutler because the former's matchup is better this week? (It is by the way.) While the Bears are fighting like children right now, Chicago won't bench Cutler whereas the Browns actually considered using Manziel last week. So, you get my point. And the point of listing sleepers is just as obvious. By now some of your starters are hurt and you need replacements quickly.
Just as a note, all fantasy stats are based on Yahoo! leagues whose stats are provided by Pro Football Focus. With that, let's move onto week eight of the NFL season and your Sit 'Em/Start 'Em candidates
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20 Philadelphia/Arizona Defense - SIT
Sit both defenses. While the Eagles' defense was a huge fantasy player during the three weeks prior to its by week, you should be skeptical of it this weekend. The chance it puts up another 20-point gem is slim because, on average, the Cardinals have surrendered only 3.8 fantasy points to opponents. On the flip side, the Eagles have surrendered just five fantasy points to opponents.
19 Buffalo Bills Defense - START
Don't look now, but the Bills' defense is having a quietly impressive season. In week eight, they should continue to role against an inept New York Jets' offense. While most teams in your league stream defenses, you should be the one to hold on tight to Buffalo. The Bills have stayed consistent and rather matchup proof. Sure, the Jets did trade for receiver Percy Harvin, but they still have Geno Smith throwing to him. Minding the Bills upcoming bye week, this would be a great time to add Buffalo's defense for the long haul.
18 Delanie Walker - TE, Tennessee Titans - SIT
Walker has been cooling off, and he's going against a Texans' defense that has only given up an average of 5.7 fantasy points to opposing TEs. The most points their defense surrendered was way back in week one, and they have no surrendered more than 10 points since week three.
At the same time, Walker hasn't score more than 5.7 points in the past three weeks with more than quality matchups against Cleveland, Jacksonville and Washington.
17 Owen Daniels - TE, Baltimore Ravens - START
Last week, Joe Flacco targeted Daniels nine times against a Falcons' defense that is one of the best at defending tight ends. If he plays this week, he's fighting a knee injury, Daniels is a solid start. Against the Falcons, he caught six balls for 58 yards and a score. Targeted six or more times in three of past four games, Daniels will face a wilting Bengals' defense, which has surrendered 27 or more points in the last few contests. Flacco will stay aggressive against Cincinnati's defense, who have been terrible recently. Start Daniels.
16 Andre Holmes - WR, Oakland Raiders - SIT
Holmes isn't the worst start, but there could be better options in your lineup. Unlike fellow colleague James Jones, Holmes is the Raiders' big play threat, which means he'll be hit or miss while he plays with the rookie quarterback. Case in point: Last week Holmes only had three catches for 34 yards.
This week Oakland gets Cleveland, which could be a slightly scary matchup for Holmes' owners. Until last week's trap-game loss to the Jaguars, the Browns had been playing lights-out defense. For six quarters prior to the Jaguars' game, the Browns had only surrendered 10 points, and much of that success came due to their secondary.
15 Doug Baldwin - WR, Seattle Seahawks - START
Without a doubt, this is a sleeper pick, however, he's a plus add to your roster, if you're in need of a wide receiver or solid flex starter. With the Seahawks trade of Percy Harvin to the Jets, Baldwin suddenly became Seattle's number one receiver. Last week Baldwin received 11 targets while fellow receiver Jermaine Kearse got seven targets. Unless the Seahawks pound the ball with Lynch next week against the Panthers, which could happen if the Seahawks score early and often, Baldwin should have another nice game. He has a strong matchup against a struggling Panthers defense, which has surrendered the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers in Yahoo! leagues.
14 Mohamed Sanu - WR, Cincinnati Bengals - SIT
Technically, according to Yahoo!, Sanu has a favorable match up against the Ravens who have given up the 8th most points to WRs. However, most teams they've faced had duel threats at the receiver position, and the Bengals lack that advantage. Jamison Hensley of ESPN provides another reason why it might be best to leave Sanu on the bench this week. Hensley raves that Baltimore owns the NFL's stingiest defense, which has a relentless pass rush and is ranked first in points allowed. Cornerback Jimmy Smith will blanket Sanu all day, while the Ravens' defense will try to begin where the Colts' defense left off last week.
13 Golden Tate - WR, Detroit Lions - START
With Calvin Johnson resting his bad ankle and Reggie Bush hobbled, Tate has claimed the number one receiver role with authority. The past two weeks he's collected 17 receptions on 25 targets for 198 yards and a touchdown. Yes, he'll lose that spot when Johnson returns, but Tate has earned the trust of Matthew Stafford. Tate faces a Falcons' defense that has been mighty generous to receivers this season. Start. Start. Start.
12 Percy Harvin - WR, New York Jets - SIT
The Seahawks traded Harvin, not only because he was a malcontent, but because he failed to perform in an offense that tried to lean on him in the passing game. On the year, Harvin has managed only 22 catches on 26 targets , 133 yards and zero touchdowns. In Yahoo! leagues, he's failed to top eight points since week three. There are a plethora of other receivers for you to pick up, including Doug Baldwin, Seattle's new number one receiver.
11 Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb - WR, Green Bay Packers - START
The only problem with starting Nelson is that fellow colleague Randall Cobb often steals some of his glory. The same could be said about Nelson to Cobb. However, with the numbers both are putting up, you just can't sit them, especially this week against a New Orleans' defense surrendering the second most fantasy points to WRs in Yahoo! leagues. Nelson is virtually matchup proof.
10 Denard Robinson - RB, Jacksonville Jaguars - SIT
Because of his break-out performance last week, Robinson is a top week eight fantasy-wire add, however, you may want to sit him this week. At the moment, he's the Jaguars' most dynamic running back. Robinson may appear intriguing because of his big game, but he was up against a Browns' defense, which ranks 32nd in the league against the run. The Jaguars face Miami this week, and their run defense ranks 10th in the league against the run. It's a much tougher matchup.
9 Lamar Miller - RB, Miami Dolphins - START
With Knowshon Moreno on injured reserve, Miller is now the lead back in Miami. Even before Moreno went down, Miller was still a solid option. The Jaguars' defense has managed to hold running backs in check in recent weeks, and they will face a Dolphins team at the wrong time. Miami's offensive line is solid, and Miller has scored in three straight weeks. He's also a threat out of the backfield to catch the ball. Fire him up as a solid fantasy option.
8 Zac Stacy - RB, St. Louis Rams - SIT
Jeff Fisher hates fantasy football, otherwise he'd commit to one of his running backs. That would make the lives of fantasy owners much less stressful. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as he noted Stacy may split time with Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason. Worse yet for Stacy owners, Cunningham started last week and Mason carried the workload. Yahoo! Sports recommends dropping Stacy, as at least Mason who has more upside.
7 Jerick McKinnon - RB, Minnesota Vikings - START
The days of lumbering running back Matt Asista are over. While Asista played well, McKinnon was always the more dynamic back, waiting for his opportunity to shine. McKinnon had a strong fantasy debut in week four, which put him on the map, and if you were smart enough to stash him, you are likely reaping the rewards now (I had him on my roster, but dropped him. Smart move). Last week against the Bills' fourth ranked rush defense, McKinnon racked up 103 yards on 19 attempts. He's still looking for his first touchdown, and that could come this week against Tampa Bay's mediocre defense..
6 Matt Asiata - RB, Minnesota Vikings - SIT
As you may have noticed from entry seven on this list, the Asiata train is officially out of commission. He hasn't scored more than 5.7 fantasy points in Yahoo! leagues since week five. The past two weeks he has only carried the ball a total of eight times for 19 yards. On the flip side, if you were smart enough to pick up his handcuff, Jerick McKinnon, then you're in good shape. I'd not only sit Asiata, I might consider dropping him for a running back with more upside, which leads us to our next set of backs.
5 Mark Ingram/Travaris Cadet - RB, New Orleans Saints - START
With Pierre Thomas missing at least two weeks due to a shoulder injury, the opportunity is there for Ingram to become the lead running back in the Saints' offense. Fantasy owners have likely been frustrated with the Saints' running-back rotation, but this may be the week their thinning patience pays off.
Also, for those who don't have Ingram, Cadet is a good add off the waiver wire. Start Ingram and possibly use Cadet (owned by virtually no one) as a FLEX. Or, use Cadet as a stand-alone back, if you are thin at the running back position and missed out on guys like Ronnie Hillman and Branden Oliver. Reports indicate Cadet will take on a much heavier load in the passing game for the next couple of weeks while Pierre Thomas rehabs.
4 Andy Dalton - QB, Cincinnati Bengals - SIT
Pretty much anyone on the Bengals' offense should worry you this week, which is why I plan to have both Dalton and Sanu out of my lineup. The move could be disastrous, but something about the Colts' defense completely dominating the Bengals last week should, and likely hasm put fear into most fantasy-owner's hearts. In Yahoo! leagues, the Ravens have also surrendered the seventh fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. I might wait a week to see if the Bengals' offense turns things around, as well as wait for a better matchup for Sanu.
3 Tony Romo - QB, Dallas Cowboys - START
Romo has at least two touchdown passes in five straight games. He's also done well to protect the ball and will continue to do so this week against a defense that ranks near last in takeaways per game. While Washington's stats may suggest otherwise, their secondary is beatable. In week three, they lost cornerback DeAngelo Hall for the year. Romo will easily expose Brandon Meriweather and thirty-five-year old safety Ryan Clark.
2 Ben Roethlisberger - QB, Pittsburgh Steelers - SIT
Did you see what the Colts did to Dalton's offense last week? Have I mentioned that yet? Sure, the Bengals are down star receivers Marvin Jones and A.J. Green, but you'd think Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill and Mohamad Sanu might have been able to do something to help their offense move past the fifty yard line. Except they didn't. The Colts have allowed the second fewest points to quarterbacks this year and Rothelisberger has averaged a mere 14.29 points in Yahoo! leagues in 2014.
1 Carson Palmer - QB, Arizona Cardinals - START
Don't look now, but the Cardinals are playing solid football and sit atop the powerful NFC West. One reason they're there is because of the elite QB play they've received from both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Since returning from injury, Palmer has re-established himself as the starter and has four solid receiving threats in Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Andre Ellington. Against an Eagles defense that has given up the 5th most points to QBs, dial up Palmer with confidence.
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